Authorial Ambivalence

In this chapter of Scumbug Scrambag, the Scumbug chases the daughter he kidnapped back to Earth.

I’m really not sure where I’m going with this story, even though I have the ending in mind. It was fun to write at first, and it still is, but I don’t think I pulled off the concept I had imagined. That’s why it took me so long to work up the urge to finish this chapter.

And that’s okay! Writing is just making things up, so it doesn’t always turn out right. I feel like I’ve learned about the narrative craft regardless of what I might consider a failure—probably even moreso because of the failure.

So, let’s make quick lists of things I like and things I don’t like in Scumbug Scrambag.

I like:

  • The Little Prince aesthetic of visiting different planets which compare different philosophies about the relationship between parent and child.
  • Leon the Professional aesthetic of a less-than-innocent little girl meddling with the group-politics of organized crime, but in space.
  • The bizarre discrepancy between those two aesthetics.
  • The Scumbug’s hilarious misunderstanding of humans and their culture.
  • Humanity’s leadership being the bad guy all along, because the Big Cheese is just a word for greed.

I don’t like:

  • The nonsense timelines. If we’re to be believed in this chapter, about ten years have passed. I like the idea of Julia tragically losing her childhood and coming to terms with the person she’s become, but faster-than-light travel by multiple parties at different relative speeds—even don’t know how much time is supposed to be passing between scenes. Is it possible to untangle the story at this point?
  • The nonsense plots. I’m glad I tried having complicated Machiavellian twists with the ambassador fooling intergalactic hitmen, and the fact the plots are nonsense is sort of a silly social commentary, but things which don’t make sense aren’t really fun to read.

Unfortunately, those two points make up the basic plot and structure of the narrative. So, if I wanted to do anything with Scumbug Scrambag, I’d probably start from scratch.

But still, I had fun writing this, and I can always harvest it for ideas. If you’ve read any or all of this, I’d like to thank you.

One chapter to go. Let’s finish this.

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